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The Effect of Age-Specific Sex Ratios on Crime: Instrumental Variable Estimates from India

Publication date

Nov, 2017

Details

NIPFP Working paper No. 214

Authors

Rashmi Barua, Prarthna Goel and Renuka Sane

Abstract

Using data from 1961 to 2001, we show the impact on crime of two age-specifi c sex ratios corresponding to pre-marital (ages 10 to 16) and marriageable (ages 20 to 26) age groups in India. To deal with the endogeneity of sex ratios, we use an Instrumental Variable (IV) strategy that exploits district-level variation in historical area under wheat-rice cultivation, and time-variation in relative producer prices of wheat-rice. We fi nd that an increase in 10-16 age sex ratio by one female per 1000 males leads to a 1.5% decline in violent crime, and a decline of almost 1% for both non-violent and property crimes. The results are not robust to alternate specifi cations for the eff ect of sex ratio in the 20-26 age group. These estimates suggest that the imbalance in the sex ratio in India between 1961 and 2001 have resulted in a 28.5% increase in violent crimes and 21% increase in non-violent and property crimes.
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